Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Make Sure List For Every Meeting To Stay On Track


Some projects last for a long period of time and lots of meetings are conducted to get the project done.  During those meetings lots of things are discussed.  Lots of decisions are being made and responsibilities being assigned.  At the same time not everything that was important gets accomplished.  It is because other priorities took over and that one thing which was important never got done.  And nobody bothered to revisit it.

I think these things should be addressed before a meeting is even scheduled and agenda being formed.  This is a checklist of things that need to be done for past, present and future meetings.   This will make sure that we are in the control of the project.  I see past, present and future meetings’ to-do lists as color coded items.  It helps me in realizing the importance of each of them.  Please make sure about the following things for every meeting we schedule.

Previous meetings (Green)
Run through a checklist from last meeting about things that need to be reviewed like check if assigned tasks were done or not, goals met or not, any pending activities or updates on progress etc.  Someone who is new should get a fair amount of idea about previous meetings. Green color symbolizes that the past is gone and mostly all of the things should be done.

Present meetings (Red)
Our most important time is not past or future it is present and it is very crucial so it is color coded as red.  You cannot afford to waste it and certainly not make less use of it.  Include things that can be discussed and decisions to be made in current meetings.  Check if the person responsible for decision making available today? If no then don’t schedule the meeting just because it is a recurring activity on your calendar.  In this meeting, everyone should contribute with their inputs on things that need to be discussed otherwise don’t include that person in a meeting.  Read this Google philosophy here.

Future meetings (Yellow)
Just like a traffic signal this is signaling you that you need to be prepared for the future to-do lists.  This will help us in preparing for the current meeting.  How?  By looking at the future to-do lists we can adjust our agenda to include more or fewer things.  And if we are far behind the schedule then we can decide whether we need to adjust or not.

All of the above points should not bog you down into too much specifics.  If these points are coming in the way of effectively conducting meetings then ignore them but make sure that you are meeting the goals and are on track.